The Illuminating Images of Shane Ware
Learn how this Austin-based photographer uncovers exceptional perspectives on classic landscapes
Photos that capture a memory, not just a place, are the key inspiration of Austin-based landscape photographer, Shane Ware. A passion for traveling led this Austinite of 13 years and full-time finance professional to discover a knack for uncovering exceptional perspectives on popular spots to photograph. At the time, smart phones weren’t as advanced as they are today, so Ware decided to purchase a nicer camera for travel purposes, but then one thing led to another, and he started photographing local spots as well. His work is primarily self-taught with an emphasis on YouTube tutorials that he watched in his early photography days.
“When you look at my work, hopefully there’s a mood or emotion attached to it, rather than just a location,” says Ware. “The secret is to know how you are going to edit the photo as you are taking the photo. Kind of being able to see the vision of what the final product will look like before it gets there.” Natural elements like the moon or rain inspire Ware to create impactful art. For example, a rare rainy site in San Diego at a hub for Spanish architecture, Balboa Park, where there is only an average of 44 days of rainfall annually.
“I got this really cool photo of the iconic tower there and a person walking with an umbrella underneath,” says Ware. “Numerous locals say they never thought about shooting there in the rain. I try to explore and find the little moments. I find that if I just take the other photos that everyone else takes, it can be a little boring, but it’s still fun to go to those spots and take photos — they’re classic for a reason.”
Transforming captures into contributions for winter relief endeavors
After the 2021 winter storm, Ware captured the Milky Way over a famous Central Texas barn in Robertson County about two hours northeast of Austin — another rare occurrence at a classic location. Now his best-selling photo ever, it helped Shane Ware raise more than $4,000 dollars for Austin Mutual Aid’s winter storm relief efforts.
“People had a tough time with the temperatures. I sold the photo and donated 100 percent of profits,” says Ware. “It’s a very popular photo spot and iconic with the Texas flag. For me it was capturing the unique conditions of snow on the ground and the clear sky after the storm cleared up. February is also very early Milky Way season.”
Henge photography is another unique way Ware likes to capture Austin. The phenomena is visible twice a year — typically in May and August — when the sun aligns with a city’s grid and sets in between buildings, creating a warm glow.
An all-time personal favorite photo is Ware’s engagement photo in Iceland, which he also took himself. To surprise his then-girlfriend, Alyson, he set up a camera by Skógafoss waterfall to take timelapse photos, and then popped the question with the camera recording the sentimental moment.
Photogenic cities and transcending the conventional photography approach
The Iceland trip, along with Paris, Amsterdam, Germany and most recently Japan, are some of Shane Ware’s most memorable places — with Japan being a favorite. He’s visited about 40 states, and he aims to continue taking long weekend trips in addition to two larger trips a year. Overall, Ware’s inspiration comes from what he calls a cinematic style.
“I have to have a creative outlet. That’s my big thing. I have a logical brain, but then I create as well,” says Ware. “Overall, I’ve had a lot more fun coming up with new things or taking a popular spot and approaching it in a different way. Rather than checking the box of a popular photo, I’ll go take this one. I find it’s easy to run into that trap, but at that point, it’s more like a scavenger hunt, rather than expressing yourself.”
Shane Ware sells his artistic photos via a SmugMug account. He partners with a local print shop to offer different formats for print, including traditional canvas, stretched canvas and acrylic metal.